Real Estate & Construction  July 1, 2024

REcolorado board fired, buyer revealed as newly formed company Mazl

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — The battle over the future of Metrolist Inc., Colorado’s largest multiple-listing service that does business as REcolorado, intensified late last week when the MLSs owners — the Denver Metro Association of Realtors and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association — fired the entire REcolorado board of directors. 

The move came after REcolorado board members began speaking publicly, and to the media, in opposition to a pending sale of the MLS to a company DMAR and SMDRA revealed last week to be Mazl LLC. 

“While disappointed, we have come to this decision based on the egregious violation of confidentiality and signed non-disclosure agreement carried out by a representative(s) of the REcolorado board of directors,” the associations said in a joint news release. “Coupled with the response of the REcolorado board of directors over the past several days we have reached this decision which we believe is in the best interests of our collective membership, our long-term ownership and operational goals,” according to the respective association boards”

Mazl LLC, which was just formed in January, according to the Colorado Secretary of State, is led by J. Burks, who is described in the release as “a leader in the real estate industry for more than 40 years.”

Mazl has little web presence, and SMDRA and DMAR said that the entity is “a private company formed specifically for the purpose of acquiring the MLS service.”

Mid-last week REcolorado’s now-fired board members, who had expressed concerns that the buyer might not continue operating the business as an MLS in the long term, referred to the buyer — then not yet identified — as a “private-equity firm.”

DMAR and SMDRA say the company is not a private-equity firm.

In a prepared statement, Burks said, “With this change in ownership, our commitment to providing a broker-centric platform remains steadfast. We assure the subscribers that REcolorado will continue to operate as a multiple-listing service, maintaining its core mission of delivering exceptional data, tools and resources to Realtors and licensees. We are dedicated to ensuring that the MLS remains a trusted, broker-focused, true partner that subscribers can rely on. As this transition to new ownership evolves, we are excited about the opportunities this presents to enhance the MLS service and provide even greater value to subscribers. Our top priority is to uphold the values and integrity that have made REcolorado an indispensable tool for real estate professionals.”

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

REcolorado is a Greenwood Village-headquartered broker-to-broker network that claims to facilitate more than 75% of all real estate transactions in Colorado.

Its broker members had pushed to buy the MLS from the two Realtor associations that co-own it, but such a deal never materialized. 

Leaders of the MLS “disagree with their approach (regarding a sale to Mazl) and are dedicated to keeping REcolorado a broker-focused business partner,” a message posted to REcolorado’s website last week said. 

In an emailed statement to BizWest last week, DMAR and SMDRA said the associations have inked a letter of intent to sell REcolorado, and that the deal “will help provide expanded and improved service opportunities for metro-Denver Realtors and licensees, the members of our associations and REcolorado subscribers that depend on the MLS to provide the vital market information required to best serve consumers in their home buying and selling process.”

One of the motivations for the sale is legal protection against antitrust allegations, DMAR and SMDRA said.

“We strongly believe that this is the right time to sell the MLS, as the industry continues to advocate decoupling from the Realtor associations that have long owned the MLS. As has been widely reported in industry reports and media coverage, decoupling MLSs and Realtor associations could help protect MLS organizations from ongoing antitrust litigation,” REcolorado’s owners said. “Separating could also improve MLS management, according to the latest Swanepoel Trends Report, which also recommended that MLSs be structured as for-profit businesses, while Realtor associations should be nonprofit organizations.”

REcolorado’s leadership responded to this argument about decoupling MLSs from Realtor associations in last week’s post. 

“While we support a vision for decoupling the MLS from Realtor association ownership, selling your most valuable tool to a private-equity firm is a questionable way to achieve that and may bring added uncertainty,” the message said. “In fact, separation between the MLS and associations is why we actively engaged with DMAR and SMDRA earlier this year to acquire 100% ownership of REcolorado …”

SMDRA and DMAR said in a statement last week that “additional details regarding the buyer and agreement will be announced soon,” but “due to the legal obligations of the LOI and our process, we cannot comment further at this time.”

The battle over the future of REcolorado, intensified late last week when the MLSs owners fired the entire board of directors. 

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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